The country, specifically Florida, is bracing for Hurricane Irma, a category five storm that is expected to bring significant damage to the entire state.
With that, this Sunday's Week 1 matchup between the Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Hard Rock Stadium was put in flux throughout the week. The league used the past couple of days to come up with a reasonable decision in regards to the impending game.
However, the league announced the game would be postponed until Week 11, which is the bye week of both the Dolphins and Bucs.
There were so many options the league had to choose from, but they quite possibly chose the worst option of them all.
Hurricane Irma is not supposed to hit Florida until this Sunday, and it is said to be a slow moving storm. With these details, the league could have easily moved the game to Friday instead, which gives the players and their families ample time to evacuate the area before Irma reaches land.
Not only that, but the NFL could have looked at what MLB did in regards to the Houston Astros during Hurricane Harvey. Instead of postponing games, MLB announced their series against the Texas Rangers would be played at Tropicana Field in Tampa Bay. With that decision, no games had to be postponed or played at a later date.
Reports even came out saying that the NFL was considering moving the game to Philadelphia or Pittsburgh this weekend.
Sources: Pittsburgh and Philadelphia are neutral sites under consideration if Bucs-Dolphins play this week. Decision likely tomorrow.— Jeremy Fowler (@JFowlerESPN) September 6, 2017
Not only that, but the league could have had tickets for sale at the neutral site, where all proceeds go to a hurricane recovery fund. Instead, the NFL chose the option of making their money instead of doing the right thing. Chris Long of the Philadelphia Eagles had that same opinion.
Should move the game to a neutral site, sell affordable tickets to benefit hurricane recovery. Am I being naive? https://t.co/SvJZHBPjMl— Chris Long (@JOEL9ONE) September 5, 2017
We can now throw the neutral site idea out the window, as now both the Dolphins and Bucs will lose their Week 11 bye week, and will play 16 straight games this season. That's putting both teams at a competitive disadvantage. The physical toll that the game has on it's athletes is staggering, which is why bye weeks were implemented. Now that the Week 11 bye is gone, injuries will be more likely for both teams, and could hinder any chance that both teams could have in making the playoffs.
Even Buccaneers head coach Dirk Koetter shared his displeasure of playing 16 straight games on Monday.
The NFL went about this decision the wrong way. Instead of moving the game to a neutral site, and using proceeds to benefit the relief effort, the Dolphins and Bucs now are a bye week behind every other team. Not only that, but the league completely dismissed the idea of having the neutral site game to benefit hurricane relief, and instead looked at their own bank accounts instead of the people in the path of Irma.
Not a good look, NFL.